It’s the season for tomatoes, and if you planted any in your yard or on your patio you probably have a bunch sitting around right now. I just love this time of year. There is nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, like a home grown tomato. The kicker is they all ripen at the same time and you’re faced with what to do with all of them.
I used to grow tomatoes in my yard and on my deck, but since we moved to a condo I can only plant a couple of pots of patio tomato plants. This year, much to my surprise, my two little plants are producing like crazy! So above and beyond putting them in a salad or serving them with a generous dollop of tuna salad or making salsa or pasta sauce, I wanted to try something a little different. Hence this recipe…
I like this recipe for a variety of reasons. First the finished product is out of this world but also it’s so quick and easy to put together and after that you just let your tomatoes marinate on the kitchen counter for a couple of hours and you’ve got something very special. Second if you plant a pot of herbs like I do it is a great way to use them. The recipe couldn’t be cleaner and the end result is divine. So let’s talk marinated tomatoes with herbs and mozzarella.
Lesson Learned 1 – Cut the tomatoes at least 1/2 inch thick: The marinating process will break the tomatoes down slightly so if you cut them too thin you’ll wind up with mush. Make sure to cut them thick to avoid that. Also make sure you don’t layer them but rather put them in a single layer. That way you’ll be able to get the full effect of the marinade.
Lesson Learned 2 – There is a trick to how long you marinate the tomatoes: As I mentioned earlier, the marinade will slightly break down the fibers in the tomatoes so if you plan to marinate them on the counter only do it for a couple of hours. If you plan on marinating them longer put them in the refrigerator. I know, the cardinal rule is never to put tomatoes in the refrigerator but this time you can if you need to marinate them for a longer period of time. If you put them in the refrigerator take them out in plenty of time to bring them back to room temperature. That way you won’t be left with cold, mushy tomatoes.
Lesson Learned 3 – Make sure to finely mince the garlic: You’re using raw garlic in the marinade so you’ll want to finely mince the garlic or crush it. That way you’ll get the benefit of the garlic without having to worry about taking a big bite of raw garlic which is not very flavorful.
Lesson Learned 4 – Feel free to vary the amount of balsamic vinegar to taste: The general rule of thumb when making a vinaigrette is one part vinegar to three parts oil. I like more tang, so whenever I combine vinegar and oil I always add more vinegar than called for. Make sure to taste your marinade before you pour it on the tomatoes and if you like more tang don’t be afraid to add more balsamic vinegar. It’s always better to start off on the safe side and add more from there. Most of the recipes I looked at used less than what I’ve listed here but I think using less makes the marinade taste too oily tasting.
Lesson Learned 5 – Turn the tomatoes over mid-way through the marinating process: When you pour on the marinade all of the herbs will be on top of your tomatoes. Mid way through marinating them turn the tomatoes over and spoon some of the liquid with the herbs on top. That way you’ll get the full effect of the marinade on both sides.
So basically you slice the tomatoes, make the marinade and let them bathe in it and throw the mozzarella in at the end. What could be simpler? And the result is fabulous – try it and see!
Marinated Tomatoes With Herbs and Mozzarella...
4 large tomatoes sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/3 cup olive oil
3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. honey
2 Tbs. finely chopped red onion
1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
1 Tbs. flat leaf parsley, finely minced
1 Tbs. fresh basil, finely minced
1/4 ball of mozzarella, sliced and then cubed (again you can add more if you like)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cut the tomatoes into thick 1/2 inch slices. Arrange them in single layer in a large shallow dish. In a mason jar combine the oil, vinegar, honey, onion, garlic, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Put the lid on the jar and shake the mixture vigorously to combine. Pour the mixture over the tomatoes.
Cover the tomatoes with plastic wrap and let marinate for two hours on the counter, or if longer in the refrigerator. (If refrigerated bring the tomatoes back to room temperature before serving.) Half way through the marinating process turn the tomatoes over and spoon the marinade back on top. Before serving, garnish with mozzarella and spoon the marinade over the mozzarella.